In the saddle again - Forty Two Miles A Day And Going Nowhere. - CycleBlaze

December 19, 2020

In the saddle again

Climbing on Mission Road

The departure photo.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Kathleen JonesThe more bents on here the merrier!
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezKathleen

I see you ride a trike. Are there many other bents /trikes here? It’s also a pleasure to see a like minded person.

Kelly
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2 months ago
One of us is ready to ride.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Corona Street has a section with brand news pavement and another with giant cracks like this.
Heart 0 Comment 1
Rachael AndersonDefinitely a lot of bad road in town, but the Loop has smooth riding, thank goodness!
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2 months ago
Pecan trees in the background.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The overpass of the interstate has nice artwork.
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Helmet Peak. A coyote crossed the road when I stopped for this photo. He was way too fast for a photo himself.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Jacinto and I both took this photo. The saguaros were notable for being so large and close together.
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San Xavier Mission.
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This was a prohibited area next to the mission.
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Jacinto’s bicycle photo of the day.
Heart 7 Comment 7
Bill ShaneyfeltNice variety of plants! I see purple Santa Rita prickly pears and green Engelmann's prickly pears all mixed together... Nice to be able to tell them apart. I noticed for the first time that Santa Ritas have more rounded pads and Engelmann's have slightly elongated pads.
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonGreat photo! The colors of the cacti go great with the bicycle.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltNice to see the cacti, nicer to see that beautiful Rodriguez.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Bill ShaneyfeltBill

Do the purple ones have a season that they are purple? Or maybe there are a large number in this area. Over Thanksgiving I saw a few, but not many.

I have a route through Saguaro Park that should be a delight.

I’m glad you are here. I would have missed you.
Kelly
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Scott AndersonHow do you decide when to take the Bike Fridays and when to take the Rodriguez bikes?
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Kelly IniguezIt is a delight to follow cycling journals in the desert, and especially with nature photos! Now, I have 2 going on!

Some species of cacti do turn purple when stressed, (thirsty) and others, like Santa Rita prickly pear can just be bright all the time, although sometimes they are green, and that makes ID less simple.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Kelly IniguezNormally we take the Fridays when a flight is involved, and use the Rodriguez and Straggler otherwise. Not this time though. Our decision to leave Portland earlier than planned and head south was quite impulsive - we decided one day, and left town about two days later. The Rodriguez needs a tuneup pretty badly, but there wasn’t time to get it into a shop before we planned to leave. If we’d had a few more days, I’d have brought the Rodriguez.
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2 months ago
Heart 1 Comment 2
Rachael AndersonGreat, another 42 mile ride I can do!
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezBe careful as you route around the Mission. In 2017 we traveled some rough dirt roads. We didn’t bother turning around because the distance was short, but I was afraid of shaking some fillings loose!
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2 months ago
Heart 1 Comment 2
Rachael AndersonGreat, another 42 mile ride I can do!
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezBe careful as you route around the Mission. In 2017 we traveled some rough dirt roads. We didn’t bother turning around because the distance was short, but I was afraid of shaking some fillings loose!
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2 months ago

One of the advantages of winter touring is sleeping in and putzing around while waiting for the temperature to warm up enough to ride. At a leisurely 8 AM we roust ourselves to go down for breakfast. Yes! We get a hot breakfast here. Jacinto went first for coffee. It passed his inspection, amazingly. He said there was a waiting line for breakfast and he didn’t know what it was, because of the line. We weren’t in a hurry to stand in a line, and then barely made it to breakfast before they closed. We were still in the line. I heard that there was a five minute wait for omelets, but darned if I wasn’t having some. When the lady in front of me received hers, I saw it was the standard heat in the microwave type, not a custom order. When it was my turn, I asked for three omelets and four sausages. The gray haired farmer type man in overalls behind me was surprised to see Jacinto ordering, he thought the food on my plate was for both of us. I assured him I was a growing girl and needed all of that food. He suggested I try oatmeal, “It’s good for you”. That was what he ordered. He announced that his first plate hadn’t filled him up. I wonder how many sausages were on that plate? Evil minded, aren’t I?

We meandered back to the room. Jacinto declared he would be eating his leftovers for lunch before taking off on a ride. I typically like to get going right after breakfast so my fuel lasts awhile. But I wasn't in a hurry as the temperature was still under 40 degrees. All of the sudden it was after 10 AM and we realized we'd better get going if we didn't want to be caught in the almost dark as Scott and Rachael had a few days ago. 

We had to pump tires, ready water bottles, and go through the panniers. We now needed only day items, as we would be coming back to the same motel each night. After the Thanksgiving tour we had hastily packed our bikes in the van. I wasn't sure I still had bicycle gloves and I found a half eaten protein bar in my top tube bag. Searching through our panniers was a bit of an adventure. Jacinto discovered that he did not bring any riding shorts. His choices are tights or street shorts . . .  .

I was the first to leave, as usual. Jacinto escorted me to the front door for a photo. The workers at the desk thought my bike was quite a sight. The sun was bright and warm when we exited. It did indeed look like a good riding day!

We were happy with our choice of the Hampton Inn. We've stayed several times at the nearby Quality Inn. It has gone downhill dramatically. The Hampton Inn is well located for a backroad exit on Corona Street. The rooms are spacious and clean. There's even a wing chair and foot stool for journal writing. Jacinto calls it a queen chair, because of the big back. You've got to love the hot breakfast. My days of turning up my nose at microwave pre frozen eggs are over. Now it's all about convenience and cost savings.

We have only one more night by the airport before heading north to the more desirable part of town. We both decided to cycle to the south today as we are south. Today was a ride we've done previously in 2017. It looked slightly familiar, but was still fun. 

The first part of the ride isn't as interesting. Riding is fine with a wide shoulder and little debris on the road. Down towards Sahaurita pecan groves appeared. I saw a road runner in one grove. He was far too fast for me to even think about a photo. 

The uphill started when I turned west at mile 17. I would be climbing uphill until mile 25. My legs were feeling good. It had been a long stretch with no bicycling since the Thanksgiving trip. There were no complaints today about working the legs. Tomorrow might be another story!

I had two cyclists pass me from the rear. They said hello. A group of 8-10 passed me as they went downhill. They didn't say a thing. I saw a couple of single cyclists. Jacinto rode approximately the same route. He saw only a couple of cyclists. Today is Saturday and the weather was great. We expected to see more cyclists out.

We had just ridden this road the opposite direction with Hank. I like climbing Mission Road into Tucson better than exiting Tucson. The view is better heading toward the saguaro covered mountains and seeing the city of Tucson below. The San Xavier Mission wasn't visible for as far as I anticipated this direction.

At Dog Town Road, roughly MM 9, I reached the top. My opinion is that the climb is more gradual this way. I didn't use the granny gear at all today, but I did going the other direction. However, today my legs were very fresh and I only carried day items on the bike as opposed to items for a tour. Wind was a non issue. What a great welcome to Tucson!

The downhill was delicious. Perhaps 2-3-4% the entire way. I was riding at about 20 mph without braking. I pulled my neck gaiter up over my nose for warmth. I had been sweating on the climb and felt slightly chilled on the downhill.

Oh - I did have one man in a white dually pickup truck pulling a water trailer give me the finger. I gave him a big wave/smile. He stuck his arm out the window with the finger. What the heck? He must not be enjoying life as much as I am. At the top of the climb, he passed me again with a blaring horn. I gave him a sweeping five finger wave in return. I made to be sure and wave vigorously so my happiness was obvious.

I stopped at the Mission for a photo. How could one not stop? There were very few people. I had only six more miles to ride to the motel. I hadn't used the bathroom the entire day. I think I'm still a little dehydrated from the day of travel. This part of the road was definitely familiar. I remember being slightly confused in 2017 in the area around the interstate. I made it through fine this time. I had a short stretch on E Valencia before taking a right down Tucson Blvd to the motel. 

Hurray! What a great start to our tour. 

I got back in the room and had all of the back to town things done before Jacinto arrived. He was ready to go eat and suggested Denny's. He's such a jokester - Denny's is not my first choice and he knows it. We have a gift card for Texas Roadhouse. They have really good choices for $9.99 before 5 PM. We could have almost made that, but I was trying to figure out how to post this journal and wanted to get it done first. He kindly agreed. Jacinto is now looking for an alternate restaurant with dine in eating. There aren't many. I told him I would go for a taco stand, but I think he's thinking more food type food. Let's see what we end up doing. I'm now going to try posting photos for the first time.I think I got the map on here. The map doing is quite slick - much easier than the other website. Ahem.

While I finished up the journal, Jacinto picked out a restaurant. We went to Mi Mazatlan, a Mexican seafood restaurant located six miles away. I ordered a filet with Chipotle sauce. Mostly I tasted the sauce, which was good. Jacinto ordered shrimp with nopales (cactus stripes) in ajillo sauce.  Last night and tonight both, my margarita and Jacinto's beer came with Tico Tico around the rim - that's a spicy sweet red powder. I haven't had a drink with Tico Tico anywhere but here.

We stopped by the Food City grocery store on the way back to the motel. It sounds as if it should be a basic grocery store - which it was, but it was a basic Mexican grocery. Their sale ad featured items for menudo and tamales. Protein bars were on my list. We walked the entire (large) store looking and looking. Finally in the cereal aisle we found Nature Valley type bars. That was it. Not even a basic Cliff bar to be seen. I think we are in the Mexican part of town. When we trade locations tomorrow, the closest grocery is a Trader Joes. I bet they will have a selection of protein bars . . .  . you know what? I think the restaurants on this side of town are good - there's also a large variety of restaurants. I will say as I bicycled between San Xavier Road and Valencia Road, I rode through a poor looking neighborhood that made me feel uncomfortable with bars on the windows and broken down vehicles. A woman yelled, "Welcome!" to me as I bicycled past her vehicle. Which was pleasant, but also a bit odd. I've never had a welcome yelled at me before. Perhaps her cousin in the white pickup said he flipped off a gray haired woman on a funny looking bike and she was making up for it . . . . 

Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 43 miles (69 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 10
Rachael AndersonWow! You did 43 miles! Congratulations. Good to have you on Cycle Blaze now.
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2 months ago
Kathleen ClassenI loved your reaction to the fellow in the pickup truck. I laughed out loud. It is exactly the modus operandi I have adopted. I cheerily smile and wave and look the picture of happiness. We have been fortunate that it is a rare occurrence here when riding. When it does happen, it is usually a pickup truck or a very expensive car. Someone should do a graduate degree on why 👍. At any rate, smiling and waving always makes me feel better about the whole thing.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Yes, I’m always sure to give a five fingered wave. I don’t often have negative comments. More often I get friendly toot toot honks. I think it’s the odd looking bike.

I felt a little
Bad for a short time. But it was too nice of a day for that to last long.

Kelly
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Rachael AndersonTell me, on this 42 mile goal - do you save miles in the bank for bad weather or low inspiration, or is it 42 a day. Period?

On day one, I’m feeling 42 is reasonable. Let’s see as I get in a few more days. I don’t typically ride 14 days in a row, but I have to take advantage while I can. Last December I rode only 58 miles total.

Kelly
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2 months ago
Bob DistelbergSeems like all roads lead to Tucson in the winter, at least for the various cyclists I follow online. Sounds like a wonderful place to ride, and is on my list of places to get to someday. Sounds like a great place to do a 42 mile a day challenge.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Bob DistelbergJacinto lobbied hard to try Phoenix or Palm Springs. But I think I was pitiful enough to sway him. Next year I will probably have to give in.

My main attraction to Tucson is The Loop, like most other riders. Let’s see if I get bored riding it. I plan to try!
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly IniguezActually, it’s just a goal depending on weather and how difficult the ride is. It’s definitely not dependent on low inspiration since I’m addicted to being outside and know after a few miles I’ll be glad I got out. However, I am doing more hiking and doing shorter rides
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly IniguezThere are a lot of variations on the loop. If you need more ideas let Scott know.
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2 months ago
Steve McallisterDon't dis Food City(on 22nd) :-)
I go out of my way to go to that store. They have the best selection of spices, meats and vegetables for cooking Mexican food.

You are right, in that they don't have the best selection of gabacho food.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezI did not look in the meat department, but at our local 'mercado' (where I get a hint as to what sort of store it is because of the name), they have pre chopped steak that is excellent for tacos. I love it when someone else does the work for me!

While driving to dinner, we saw an Islamic grocery store. Now I can't even tell you where. I almost told Jacinto to pull over so we could walk the aisles. It was fairly small. Heck - you can tell what a small town girl I am. I just googled to see if I could jog my memory. There are all sorts of Islamic groceries and also a school! No big deal . . .

Thank you for following along with us.
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2 months ago